Choosing a philosophy thesis subject is often difficult no matter what level of education the thesis paper is intended for. Despite the best intentions of educators, most adults have their own philosophical bias developed through life experiences, meaning that for the best impact, the writer might be better off choosing a thesis statement that reflects the favored philosophy of the educator passing judgment on the paper. It is important not to confuse a general thesis paper for lower levels of education with a research-based dissertation in advanced academics, which requires an exploration of a more unique point of view.
A thesis writer looking for inspiration on the subject of philosophy can find a diverse history of philosophical conflict right at home in the United States of America. Philosophical reasoning was behind the Boston Tea Party, the contents of the Declaration of Independence, and the philosophies prompting the American Civil War, all of which make a fine starting point for a philosophy thesis. For writers looking for a more exotic and worldly subject, regional philosophical conflicts abound throughout the world; for example, the Industrial Revolution in England changed the way human beings look at the philosophy of producing goods and distributing them. Conversely, the transition from a rural economy to an urban center of power changed both the philosophical life of the working classes and society's elite, which can make for an interesting thesis examination.
What Educators Look for in a Philosophy Thesis
Educators from lower orders of schooling, such as grade school and early college/university, typically look for a thesis in the traditional argumentative premise format. In an argumentative premise thesis, the writer puts forward a theory and defense of that viewpoint. In advanced academics, the thesis takes on the more complex dissertation format. A dissertation is often a more open-ended treatise on the subject stemming from research rather than a specific argued point. Given the less-than-definitive nature of philosophy, it can be difficult to form a research-based dissertation without using an argumentative thesis statement premise.
Crafting a Thesis Statement in a Philosophy Context
The best way to craft a thesis statement for a philosophy paper is to read a few examples of other student papers that scored well in the previous semesters. For example, a thesis statement should start with a proposed statement of fact followed by a simplified justification of that fact to build upon. In the context of a philosophy paper written on the conflicting ideologies of the Civil War, a student may use the following statement: "The abolitionist philosophy of the Northern Union in the Civil War was the driving force behind its victory in the American Civil War; this is because the moral high ground of the abolitionist movement gave the Northern troops something to fight for."
A student looking to argue for a less popular position could form a thesis based upon the philosophical position of the Southern confederacy being a more viable economic system for national progress. However, even now the Civil War is a touchy subject, so a student may be well advised to shy away from this example in favor of more far removed international topic.
Value of Knowing the Reader
To write a compelling philosophy thesis, the writer should choose a subject he is passionate about; however, if it is not in line with the popular views of the school where the project is being presented, the writer must take careful action to avoid being inflammatory. Approaching controversial philosophical thesis subjects with a neutral comparison examination can help avoid offending readers. Remember, the ultimate goal of a thesis is to support the writer's chosen thesis statement, and not to denigrate the beliefs of others. To this end, it's usually recommended for philosophy papers to use factual case studies sourced from historical events as opposed to unattributed theoretical conversation.